Pot Shop in the Heart of Larchmont Village?

215 N Larchmont

Rumors have been flying that a medical marijuana dispensary will soon open in the heart of Larchmont Village.

215 N Larchmont-2The location is alleged to be on the second floor of 215 N. Larchmont, in the building that houses Hamburger Hamlet and Alternative Apparel on the ground floor. The owner of the building would not confirm or comment on the leasing of the location to a medical marijuana collective.

Larchmont Buzz learned that Council District 4 has been in contact with the City Attorney’s office and the LAPD about this prospective business.  “Larchmont Boulevard is a neighborhood street, and a marijuana dispensary is inconsistent with its historic character. I am working closely with other city agencies to determine the legality of any new marijuana-related businesses on the street,” Councilman LaBonge told the Buzz.

According to one source, the dispensary planning to rent the space could be a medical marijuana collective originally on Sunset Blvd that will relocate to Larchmont Blvd. This dispensary appears to be on the Proposition D Information List, compiled by the City. The list contains names of Medical Marijuana Businesses that were registered prior to a moratorium put in place in 2007,  fulfil various other timely registrations with the City and thus will be allowed to operate legally in Los Angeles.

The City Attorney’s office would not yet respond to Larchmont Buzz requests for information on the rumored pot shop, but shared a flyer titled: Proposition D – Frequently Asked Questions.  The flyer details what “protected” Medical Marijuana Businesses must do to comply with Proposition D requirements. According to the flyer, the  allowed dispensaries must not

  • Open or operate between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.;
  • Have marijuana and/or alcohol consumed on the premises or parking area;
  • Allow a minor unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian to enter the premises;
  • Have any marijuana visible from the exterior of the premises;
  • During closure hours, illuminate the premises by any lighting visible from the exterior of the premises, except reasonable security lighting;
  • Locate any access (other than an emergency exit) on any side of the location that abuts, is across the street (unless 80 feet wide), alley or walk from the location, or has a common corner with residentially zoned land. Any non-complaint business has until December 17, 2013 to move to a compliant location; 
  • Locate within a 1000–foot radius of a school, or within a 600–foot radius of a public park, public library, religious institution, child care facility, youth center, alcoholism, drug abuse recovery or treatment facility, or other medical marijuana business. 

Business owners in the Village are already up in arms about the possibility of a pot shop on Larchmont Boulevard.

“As a business owner, resident and parent, I am outraged that [the landlord] would think a pot shop is an acceptable tenant and a good idea for Larchmont Village” Joane Pickett, owner of Pickett Fences told the Buzz.  “Larchmont is one of the last places parents feel comfortable giving their children some freedom, that would all change with a pot shop. They are a cash business and attract crime. With the LBA, CD#4 and Larchmont BID, I will work hard to prevent this from happening.”

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18 thoughts on “Pot Shop in the Heart of Larchmont Village?

  1. Hmmmm…. I am curious as to what carefully conducted studies others have access to that show that marijuana dispensaries attract crime? Everything I have seen, including a 2012 from UCLA, shows that they do not. The UCLA study actually makes a point that crime can decrease when a dispensary opens.

    Additionally, why would someone assume a dispensary is a cash business? I am told they take credit cards like any other business. One could argue that our beloved Pickett Fences is a “cash” business and, given the price points charged, that its customers must have wads of cash in their purses which would attract crime as well.

    It is also unclear as to how a dispensary endangers “the children” or changes the character of the avenue as a safe place for them? Will they be dropping free tokes onto the street for the little innocents to scarf up?

    It is also unclear how a marijuana dispensary disrupts the “historic” character of the neighborhood. Chase recently remodeled their bank and felt it was too cost-effective to restore the historic exterior buried under the faux-bank stucco. Will this dispensary somehow destroy the historic facade of the building in which its located? Does that building have a historic facade to begin with? Nothing says history like a giant Hamburger Hamlet sign.

    I wonder if this drummed up outrage would be as great if another type of medical establishment were opening up. I saw no outrage over the cosmetic surgery place. God knows unrealistic appearance expectations are a serious threat to our children, especially young women, especially in Los Angeles.

    Please understand that I am not necessarily in favor of this dispensary in this location, if it is happening. Of course there are always legitimate issues and concerns regarding any new business (see “spinning gym” and “sit-down eatery” as examples.)

    But I do think reactions and concerns should be grounded in facts, not emotions, and certainly not – if this is at all the case – in an outmoded and generally baseless stereotype of the dirty stoned hippie standing in the shadows furtively handing tokes out to kids.

    Children wander about Larchmont daily even while people smoke their filthy sinful cigarettes in public and booze it up on wine to excess at any number of our wonderful eateries, and I have never heard anyone make a statement to the Buzz about the harm of any of that. I would think that this existing public activity has more potential to harm children than a few people purchasing their medicine and then leaving the shopping district to go use it at home. But if there is a study that proves me wrong, please point me to it.

    Many upstanding Larchmontians use or have used medical marijuana, people that I am sure both Ms. Pritchett and Tom know and respect. Medical marijuana has been legal in California for many years now. Major figures such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN have recently come out for complete legalization of marijuana and have flatly stated that we have been lied to about its effects for 70 years. So why all the special outrage over this one type of business?

    Unless I am missing something, or there is a secret study that contradicts the recent UCLA study, I think the thing to do is to study this situation carefully, factually, without all the drama, and see what effects a second-floor medical establishment of this kind would really have. Is it legal? It is allowed by zoning? And proceed from there.

    Let’s just hope they won’t be offering sit-down dining and spinning classes.

  2. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 30 years and as a Cancer patient who suffers from severe neropathy pain, I welcome the dispensery to Larchmont. Although, I don’t know if I could handle those stairs.

  3. Well, surprise, surprise. For a while now it has been obvious that the landlords of Larchmont are at odds with the community and even the Larchmont Business Association when it comes to their idea of what “works” on the street. And the Labonge office has obviously been sending mixed messages. But as 30 year resident, all I can say is that we went from a street of neighborhood service – including groceries, a hardware store, and a cleaner…..to a street with ten coffee shops and now a weed dispensary. Great.

  4. My understanding is that pot shops sell their products for cash and not credit cards. Therefore they are robbery targets. Such a crime occurred at the pot shop on La Brea and 8th St. in recent years. Might have been worse than robbery, will check. Cash only rules I believe are due to the fact that credit cards are “interstate commerce” and cannot be used because marijuana sales are not legal in all 50 states and cannot be “sold (paid for electronically) cross state lines.” I don’t see that anyone is discussing nor alleging any attitude towards “the type of people” who would patronize the pot shop (and it appears to not be “hippies” but young, white male adults, judging from stats regarding medical marijuana prescriptions.) Would like to hear from law enforcement; perhaps the print media or Larchmont Buzz might conduct an interview with the U.S. attorney’s office as well as LAPD.

  5. I am so glad to hear that a compassionate provider of natural medicine will be opening in our community! The citizens of California wisely voted in 1992 to legalize medical marijuana and it is high time that the crooked politicians and police stop interfering with people’s rights to consume cannabis, which has been used safely for literally thousands of years for both medicinal and recreational purposes. A medical marijuana dispensary should be treated no differently than the numerous conventional medical service providers on Larchmont. Nothing about it is inconsistent with the historic character of the boulevard and, being a fourth-generation resident who has lived here my entire life, I know the history of this community well. The opponents of this new establishment are either ignorant or self-serving, and they should either educate themselves or step aside. I say heartily to our new neighbor, “Welcome to Larchmont!”

  6. Who is the libertarian landlord who is saying “screw you” to the neighborhood?

    I can see a couple of shills for the pot shop have weighed in on this blog….but anyone who is raising kids on the block and says “I’ve been here for 30 years and I think it is swell” is full of crap.

    This is a bad idea….just as the scofflaws who say they don’t need to follow zoning limits….like the restaurants who exceed the number in the Q zoning and the nice folks with the spinning studio…who could have asked for support for a zoning change first…vs opening and then asking for forgiveness.

    I hope LaBonge and his staff chief Carolyn Ramsey have the backbone to stop this.

    1. @jimbo, How dare you call me and the other intelligent commentators on this site shills! You can raise your kids however you want, but don’t tell me or anyone else how to raise ours. Mine are taught good manners and critical thinking skills. Too bad for the rest of us that you’re evidently teaching your kids by example not to respect others’ opinions and instead to call people names just because you disagree with them and can’t think of anything smarter to say. Nevertheless, supporters of medical marijuana are entitled to our own well-informed opinions and our numbers are growing every day!

  7. The question should not be a debate over the pros and cons of medical marijuana, but rather if this is a best use of the street. In fact, north of Beverly might not be such a big problem (and more accessible for people who can’t deal with the stairs). But I think the ongoing issue in Larchmont is some sort of imbalance between the actual real estate, the different demographic of what admittedly is a sort of bedroom community that used to have a street that worked as “services,” and landlords who (not unreasonably) want to maximize their investments but somehow do not seem able to attract businesses that work with the neighborhood. I mean, coming into the old Fluxus store space is a store dedicated mostly to candles that sell for about $75 apiece (and which you can already buy at Larchmont Beauty Supply). That seems just as off-kilter to me as a weed dispensary in terms of how it seems disconnected to the neighborhood.

  8. It’s obvious by the tone of tis conversation that this is, and will continue to be, a very contentious issue in the community. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. We love in a land of laws, whether we agree with them or not. There are appropriate venues for discussion and input from the community regarding the vision they have for the neighborhood they live in. Landlords and tenants have recently run afoul of the neighborhood when they have blatantly misrepresented themselves to bypass the law. If the community wants different rules regarding what should or should not be on Larchmont, they should educate themselves about the process and mobilize supporters to change things. There is a venue for this, however cumbersome. We do still live in a democracy. Get involved in something other than complaining on websites.

    That said, communities have always had laws governing what goes where. Planning and land use issues are designed to encourage / discourage various kinds of growth for a reason. It’s not just about what you the individual wants, but what will create an environment that reflects the values of the community…public safety, quality of life, business promotion, etc. Balancing the rights of one individual against another is tricky business.

    There are other types of businesses you won’t find on Larchmont. Hard liquor, bars, strip clubs, sex shops. All perfectly legal, but not present. I’m sure you would find plenty of consumers of those establishments living in this neighborhood as well. It’s a communities prerogative to have the conversation about whether or not we want those types of businesses here. The legality of the activity is not the only factor considered. There are moral and ethical concerns as well of people who (like most states and the federal government) still see marijuana as an illegal substance.

    It’s frustrating for consumers of medical marijuana that there is no consensus on federal / state / local levels. In that case, medicinal marijuana could be distributed through pharmacies like any other form of medication and the distribution system would not consist of storefronts with blacked out windows. The rest of the users should be more forward with their desire to legalize marijuana for recreational use and not hide behind the facade of people suffering from real illnesses. But, legalization is an entirely different conversation. That gap in honesty is what makes this issue so hard to resolve.

    The “old fashioned” feel of Larchmont is what attracts and retains so many residents. Just adj the realtors here or the many multigenerational families who call this home. It is one of the last little neighborhoods in this huge city that has maintained that character over the decades. I don’t understand why people come here or move here if they want it to be something else. There are so many other options for you out there that might better reflect the community you want to live in.

  9. Jimbo, I am 62 and have lived in this area since 1982. I was here when Safeway was where Rite Aid now stands. I was here when Jurgensen’s was a great place to shop. I was here when the Post Office was in the back of Landis Department Store. I was here when Larchmont Village Catering was the hip place to sit outside and have coffee. I was here when Snow White still lived on the Boulevard. I was in Security Pacific Bank when it was robbed at gun point. I was here when Larchmont had a Hardware store, a Pharmacy and a Meat Market and God willing, I’ll be here when the Dispensary opens. So, Jimbo, don’t you dare accuse me of being “a shill for the pot shop”.

    As I said in my earlier post, Chemotherapy has left me with severe neuropathy which Western medicine has no cure for. Thank God I can go to a Dispensary and get tea bags or a sweet edible that allows me to at least get a nights rest without pain. A Medical Marijuana Dispensary on Larchmont would be very convenient for me and make my life a little bit better.

    1. Doctors who prescribe marijuana are, more often than not, unethical. From wikipedia “Many studies have looked at the effects of smoking cannabis on the respiratory system. Cannabis smoke contains thousands of organic and inorganic chemical compounds. This tar is chemically similar to that found in tobacco smoke or cigars.[93] Over fifty known carcinogens have been identified in cannabis smoke.[94] These include nitrosamines, reactive aldehydes, and polycylic hydrocarbons, including benz[a]pyrene.[95] Marijuana smoke was listed as a cancer agent in California in 2009.[96] A 2012 literature review by the British Lung Foundation identified cannabis smoke as a carcinogen and also found awareness of the danger was low compared with the high awareness of the dangers of smoking tobacco particularly among younger users.”

      1. Vince52, you obviously know nothing about a Medical Marijuana Dispensary. First of all, my Oncologist from the Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai wrote my prescription. He is far from unethical.

        Secondly, Marijuana in tobacco form is not the only thing that a dispensary offers. Cookies, cakes, brownies, gold fish, chocolate, sodas, cooking oil, butter, honey are just some of the edibles you can purchase. I don’t like to smoke anything, so I get tea bags or a candy bar or a brownie. As I’ve posted before, just a bite helps with the pain from the Chemo and allows me to get a nights sleep.

        I won’t even start on how Wikipedia is not considered a reliable source.

      2. Vince’s post is completely disingenuous. He cherry-picks from Wikipedia, ignoring information provided there that directly contradicts his argument.

        While cannabis smoke contains virtually the same toxic gases and carcinogenic tars as tobacco, the respiratory hazards are not similar. Although previously assumed that cannabis could cause lung cancer and emphysema, substantial research has shown it does not contribute to either of these diseases or other cancers of the head and neck.

        First, note that combustion is an oxidative process that produces multiple carcinogens and other toxins, so smoke from any source contains such pollutants. Doctors recommending cannabis typically advise ways to avoid or minimize smoke inhalation, including oral ingestion, using higher-potency cannabis that can be smoked in smaller quantities, and using vaporizers, which heat cannabis to a temperature at which the medically active cannabinoids are emitted with little or none of the tars and other carcinogens found in smoke.

        Even those who smoke cannabis are not exposed to the same level of carcinogens as tobacco smokers because the amount of smoke they inhale is far lower. In contrast to steady, frequent cigarette smoking by nicotine addicts, cannabis use is typically episodic, with an extremely low rate of addiction.

        The first large-scale epidemiological study of cannabis smoking and lung cancer was conducted in 2005 by researchers led by Drs. Tashkin and Hashibe at UCLA. Surveying 1,209 patients with lung, oral, and respiratory tract cancers, they found no correlation between cannabis smoking and these cancers.[1] They even found a reduced lung cancer risk among short-term cannabis smokers. Harvard researchers subsequently discovered that the cannabinoid THC inhibited the growth of lung cancer tumors in laboratory animals.[2]

        An expert on smoking-related disease, Dr. Tashkin had initially believed that cannabis smoking likely caused lung cancer, but he concluded: “We did not find any evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking.”[3] His team also determined that cannabis does not cause emphysema because, whereas tobacco smoke penetrates the smaller, peripheral passageways of the lungs, cannabis smoke is concentrated in the larger, central passageways.[4]

        The highly-respected neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta likewise reversed his opinion on marijuana use after investigating the subject, concluding that marijuana “doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.” Many people choose cannabis to avoid less effective prescription drugs with worse side effects. Over 20,000 people die annually in this country from prescription drug overdoses, but there is not one documented case of death from marijuana overdose.[5]

        Similarly, Harvard professor Lester Grinspoon began studying marijuana in 1967 intending to document its presumed dangers, but he concluded: “There was little empirical evidence to support my beliefs about the dangers of marijuana.” Now an advocate of medicinal cannabis use, he writes: “There is very little evidence that smoking marijuana as a means of taking it represents a significant health risk…. there have been no reported cases of lung cancer or emphysema attributed to marijuana. I suspect that a day’s breathing in any city with poor air quality poses more of a threat than inhaling a day’s dose – which for many ailments is just a portion of a joint – of marijuana.”[6]

        As doctors become more aware of the medical benefits, those who would recommend cannabis are no longer in the minority. In a February 2013 poll by the New England Journal of Medicine, 76% of the 1,446 physicians who responded said they would prescribe medical marijuana to treat the pain of an older woman with advanced breast cancer.[7]

        Many people remain misinformed about the health effects of cannabis use, but please study the available information rather than hiding in fear and ignorance to protect preconceived notions. Those who employ scare-tactics and false accusations against advocates of the well-documented medical benefits of cannabis are easily discredited.

        1. M. Hashibe et al., “Marijuana use and the risk of lung and upper aerodigestive tract cancers: results of a population-based case-control study,” Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev 15.10: 1829-34 (2006).

        2. A. Preet et al., “Delta-9 THC inhibits epithelial growth factor-induced lung cancer cell migration in vitro as well as its growth and metastasis in vivo,” Oncogene 27: 339-46 (2008).

        3. “Pot smoking not linked to lung cancer,” Salynn Boyles, WebMD.com, http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/news/20060523/pot-smoking-not-linked-to-lung-cancer, 2006-05-23, retrieved 2013-08-28.

        4. D. Tashkin et al, “Effects of habitual use of marijuana and/or cocaine on the lung,” in Research Findings on Smoking of Abused Substances, NIDA Research Monograph 99 (1990).

        5. “Why I changed my mind on weed,” Sanjay Gupta, CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana, 2013-08-08, retrieved 2013-08-28.

        6. “Puffing is the best medicine,” Lester Grinspoon, LATimes.com, http://articles.latimes.com/2006/may/05/opinion/oe-grinspoon5, 2006-05-05, retrieved 2013-08-28.

        7. “Poll: 76% of doctors approve of medical marijuana for advanced cancer pain,” The Partnership at Drugfree.org, http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/drugs/poll-76-percent-of-doctors-approve-of-medical-marijuana-for-advanced-cancer-pain, 2013-05-30, retrieved 2013-08-28.

  10. Just wanted to let everyone know that there is a community meeting regarding the medical marijuana dispensary on Thursday, August 29th at 7 pm at St. Brendan School Gym located at 238 S. Manhattan Place. There is a large parking lot on site.

    Please show up to the meeting if you or someone you know would like safe, convenient access to medical marijuana in Larchmont Village.

    Please also attend if you want to voice your concerns with a medical marijuana dispensary.

    1. Sam: Like Rita, I grew up on Larchmont and remember all the same places. I don’t live there anymore but since you posted about the meeting, I thought I’d pass something along to you. I worked at that building when it was Larchmont Pharmacy. According to the Prop D requirements, it cannot have an exit to an alley, and this second-floor space does have direct access to the alley, and the alley is not 80-ft wide. And since it’s in the same block as the Lucerne houses, doesn’t that mean it would share a “residential corner,” also not allowed under Prop D? (SE corner of Beverly and Lucerne)

  11. Will be an interesting topic for discussion for sure. For or against, presume it will likely be more of a zoning issue. Not in favor myself.

    Hopefully since its upstairs we’ll never even know its there. Sort of like hamburger hamlet, never see anyone go in or out of there.

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